Dan & Arno’s “Best Of The Rest” 2012
Right, we’ve called out many of the heavy-hitters throughout our other album and song lists, but SO much good metal came out last year that we’re still not done. In fact, even after these ten songs, there are probably a couple dozen more decent to very good albums that we just can’t mention. As it is, here’s a collection of songs from other groups that haven’t gotten a substantial callout as of yet. In no particular order:
1. Unisonic – “Unisonic”, from the album Unisonic
Arno: Everything is set to overdrive with this burst-out-the-gates of Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske’s most recent team-up. Fast-paced, energetic, and catchy, it sets the tone for an album where fun is the main factor. Now, all together: UUUNIIISOOONIIIIIIIIC!
2. Dark At Dawn – “Arabian Fights”, from the EP Noneternal (No audio available)
Arno: Sabaton wishes they were this good at belligerent metal, as Dark At Dawn evolves from a Maiden-esque serene intro to a fist-pumping chorus for the ages. Slightly cheesy, but irresistible.
3. Evil Masquerade – “A Silhouette”, from the album Pentagram
Arno: Some may frown at Evil Masquerade’s slow transformation form neoclassical power metal to evilized hard rock, but “A Silhouette” proves they can still be as twisted, snarling, and infectious as in the good ol’ days. For some decent Apollo-action from 2012, skip Firewind, and go straight to this one.
4. Lanfear – “The Reverend”, from the album This Harmonic Consonance
Dan: Though it’s a bit dark, this song was an instant favorite from the new album, and was even better when played live. The tone is malevolant, and the screams absolutely killer. Watching the band play this live at ProgPower USA was one of my sure highlights of 2012.
5. Secret Sphere – “Lie To Me”, from the album Portrait Of A Dying Heart
Arno: Michele Luppi may have maliciously hijacked Secret Sphere for his own musical purposes, but “Lie To Me” sees the man at his crooning best in an emotive ballad with a mesmerizing refrain. Vision Divine may have beaten him this year, but Luppi is far from gone.
6. Soulspell – “To Crawl Or To Fly”, from the album Hollow’s Gathering
Arno: Everyone at Black Wind Metal is in love with Theocracy’s Matt Smith, so to see him team up with Soulspell was a mouth-watering prospect (to see him team up with anyone, really). The result is a soaring emotional song, with female vocals as strong as Smith’s own contribution.
7. Pathfinder – “The Day When I Turn Back Time”, from the album Fifth Element
Dan: I was an immediate and devoted fan of Pathfinder’s 2010 debut, but Fifth Element just didn’t feel as strong or (surprisingly) as mature as the first release. However, there are several great songs, and I would be remiss in my duties as a power metal aficionado if I didn’t mention at least one of them. “The Day When I Turn Back Time” is majestic, supremely catchy, and an embodiment of all of the speed and energy that Pathfinder infuses into their music.
8. Fogalord – “The Fog Lord”, from the album A Legend To Believe In
Dan: I love, love, love my fluffy power metal, and along with Last Kingdom’s Chronicles Of The North, Fogalord’s debut album was a Godsend. Since then, my love for this album (and this song in particular) has prompted me to adopt a second identity as “DA FOG LORD”.
9. Vorpal Nomad – “The Mad Hatter”, from the album Hyperborea (No audio available)
Dan: We’ve been going on about Felipe Franco Machado for a long time now (we’re professional fanboys), but boy, does he ever prove his musical talent in songs like this. “The Mad Hatter is a delightfully unhinged romp through the fables of Lewis Caroll (“OFF WITH MY HEEEEEAAD!”) when such a song is one of the last things you might expect from a band like Vorpal Nomad.
10. Winter’s Verge – “Angels Of Babylon”, from the album Beyond Vengeance
Arno: Winter’s Verge stepped up their game markedly with the rip-roaring Beyond Vengeance, and “Angels Of Babylon” stands testament to said evolution. Raw and furious, not in the least because of Mystic Prophecy’s R.D. Liapakis’ presence, it wipes the floor with an Avantasia-song of the same name by sheer scorching intensity alone.